Category Archives: B1 and above

Intonation: Questions

In the 7th episode of the first season of Friends, Chandler’s colleague Shelly makes him a… weird proposal! By exploring this one-minute passage with students, we can get them talking about making a faux pas and, at the same time, discuss the different intonation patterns for questions in English.


Friends – 004 – Intonation – episode 7 – Faux pas


Grammar: Second Conditional

What would you do if a 500-dollar deposit was made by mistake in your account? Would you keep it? And what would you do if you were omnipotent for a day? Would you wish for three more wishes?

These are some of the questions our friends ask themselves and each other in episodes 3 and 4 of the first season, and the two video segments and activity below might help you clarify and practice Second Conditional with your learners.

Friends – 003 – Grammar – Second Conditional – s01e03-04

Speaking: Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus

In the second episode of the first season, the friends have a very funny conversation about the differences between men and women when it comes to relationships and, more specifically, sex.

The topic can be a bit taboo, so I tried to approach it in the least… sexual way. In the teachers’ notes, however, there are some very simple ideas on how to focus more directly on the sexual metaphors used and on metaphorical use of language in general. Regardless of how you use the activity, however, I’m sure this will generate a lot of discussion.

Friends – 002 – Men are from Mars Women are from Venus – s01e02

Grammar: Historical Present

In the first episode of the first season, Chandler tells his friends about a very weird dream he had about his mom! Instead of using the Simple Past, however, he uses mostly Simple Present, in a use that’s sometimes referred to as Historical Present.

Martins Hewings, in the third edition of his Advanced Grammar in Use, has this to say about this use of the Simple Present:

We often use the present simple and present continuous in stories and jokes in informal spoken English to create the impression that events are happening now. This can make them more direct and exciting and hold people’s attention:

‘She goes up to this man and looks straight into his eyes. He’s not wearing his glasses, and he doesn’t recognise her…’

Below you’ll find both the video segment and an activity to help you explore this point with your students.

Friends – 001 – Historical Present – s01e01

Your comments and feedback are highly appreciated!